U.S. Department of Energy selects Novozymes project to further develop enzymes for cellulosic ethanol production

Novozymes’ Project DECREASE (Development of a Commercial-Ready Enzyme Application System for Ethanol) aims to improve performance of Novozymes’ most advanced cellulase system, further decreasing the cost of cellulosic ethanol production.

Novozymes is the leader in bioinnovation and the largest supplier of enzymes for the existing ethanol industry. Novozymes has been working on enzyme development for cellulosic ethanol, where agricultural residues like straws and corn stover are converted into ethanol, since 2001 when we received a previous Department of Energy-funded project. Today our overall effort within cellulosic ethanol represents the largest R&D effort in Novozymes history, with more than 100 employees allocated.

‘We are very happy to receive this support and excited to again work with the Department of Energy in enabling the development of a cellulosic ethanol industry’, says Joel Cherry, Senior Director of Biofuels Biotechnology. ’Novozymes is committed to providing the bioinnovation required to make cellulosic ethanol a commercial reality. This funding will be used to bolster our ongoing research effort to develop cost-effective enzymes for the conversion of cellulose-rich biomass into ethanol or other renewable fuels. Our goal is to have the best commercial enzymes ready for the demand driven by the DoE-funded pilot and demonstration cellulosic ethanol plants slated to open in 2010 and beyond. The continued support and commitment of the U.S. government is important to the development of a second generation of renewable fuels, and we are grateful for the opportunity to contribute’.

The DECREASE project will be carried out as a global collaboration between Novozymes researchers in California, North Carolina, Denmark and China, as well with our external partners: the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Cornell University, and the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique University in France.
The project plans and level of funding will be determined in negotiation with the Department of Energy in the next few months. Funding for Project DECREASE is like all government funded projects dependent on appropriations from Congress.